Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Tourist traffic: Old men in hats should be against the law





Spring's arrival in the Comox Valley is signaled by several things. The chorus of chirping birds, the cherry trees blossoming into a riot of pink, plants that lay dormant all winter poking their tender green shoots out of the soils, the snow level on the mountains slowly receding. Perhaps the biggest sign that spring has arrived is also the one that makes all Valleyites grind their teeth into dust: the influx of tourist traffic.

I live in one of the most gorgeous places on the planet. The problem is, lots of people who don't live here also know the awesomeness of this place. And every spring the tourists invade, bringing with them their hard-earned tourist dollars to contribute to the local economy (good) and their vehicles which you can always tell belongs to a tourist because if the out of province license plate wasn't a dead giveaway, the large RV being driven erratically 20 kms under the speed limit by someone who has obviously never driven an RV before in their life is pretty telling (bad. And highly fucking annoying).

I have narrowed down the type of tourists we normally see around here and their driving habits into 3 types:

1)Retirees: most often driving gigantic RV's and towing their Lincon Town car behind it. ALWAYS driving way slower than the speed limit and ignores the increasing line of irate vehicles behind him. Beware old men wearing hats...they're the worst. Not only do they go extra-slow but they put their turn signal on the moment they leave the driveway, so you can be waiting for them to turn for 50 kms before they ever do so.

2) Families: easy to spot because their minivans are overflowing with kid-detritus and smell of spilled juiceboxes and parental despair (as in "why the fuck did I ever think traveling for 2 weeks with 3 kids under 10 was a good idea?? If I have to listen to one more kid yelling punchbuggy and belt his sister so hard in the leg she screams and tries to put him in a headlock and shove crayon up his nose in retaliation, I will lose what's left of my mind". Families can usually be seen pulling u-turns in the middle of the highway, due to the universal law that kids will start clamouring for a bathroom 2 seconds after you pass a rest stop or gas station

3) Hippies: here for the laid-back vibe, the relaxed possession laws and the pot. Usually driving old VW vans that have been hotboxed so many times, you can get a contact high just from driving in their wake. Hippies are easy to spot...just look for the vehicle that slowly drifts onto the shoulder of the road every once in a while and drives exactly 2 kms under the speed limit so they don't get pulled over and risk getting their stash confiscated

Tourist traffic earns 3 flaming middle fingers on the Hate-O-Meter because it's mostly a seasonal thing. Old men in hats however, get 5






11 comments:

  1. Old men in hats? What about old ladies with glasses that look like coke bottle bottoms?

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  2. We get a lot of Florida tourists in the winter who come up here to look at the snow. I've seen them driving around, WHILST HANGING OUT THE WINDOW OF THEIR CAR WITH A VIDEO CAMERA, filming the fucking snow. I guess filming the snow from one location isn't sufficient, so they have to endanger their own and others' lives because they don't understand that driving in the snow is dangerous and should not be made more dangerous by hanging out your window as you do it.

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  3. I am originally from Muskoka, Ontario and we would have people slamming on their breaks and pulling over on the 2-lane road at the first sight of a rock or tree or deer or even roadkill. Swerving for roadkill is the worst. They're tourists, so maybe they don't know that's how they will end up in the rock or tree or deer and become roadkill themselves.

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  4. We get tourists, too, and are a retirement community. I hate the days when everyone seems to be driving 20. Hunting is big here in the fall. Then we have to put up with bullets, too. Traffic is preferable.

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  5. And of course you will always be young, brilliant, and in good health and perhaps have some compassion too. Did you ever realize that under that hat could be a person who served in Korea or Vietnam and worked very hard so that you and your generation could have the kind of life you have? Ageism!

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    Replies
    1. First of all, shitty driving transcends age and if I was being ageiest, then I would not have bitched about families and hippies of ALL ages as well as old men in hats. Secondly, while I am thankful to anyone who has at anytime served in the military (including my father, who just happens to be one of the be-hatted elderly gentlemen I was complaining about), military service does not exclude you from driving with care and attention

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  6. Uh-oh!

    I gotta say, I love tourist season in the centre of London. They bring such a brilliant atmosphere with them, that brightens up the place. However I will award 5 flaming fingers to those that do the sock/sandal combo. No people, no! :)

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    Replies
    1. What is that about?! Don't their socks get all wet and dirty? Why even wear sandals? This really bugs me.

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  7. I always think about how the locals feel when I go to a touristy place. As someone who lives in an anti-tourist area...the suburbs, I have never experience this stuff from a local's point of view, and I am glad I don't have to! Instead, I can be the annoying one :)

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  8. I agree with Kianwi. I try to put myself in the locals shoes and not be a total tourist ass on vacation. If its one thing I can't stand, it's rude people!

    Hugs!

    Valerie Nunez and the Flying Platypi

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  9. Okay, now I seriously wonder if we were somehow separated at birth, because it was a thing in my family to complain about old men in hats who drove.

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